In an email Tuesday, NARAL Pro-Choice America president Nancy Keenan rallied supporters to combat the surge of opposition by “birth-control opponents” to what many have called an unprecedented challenge to the freedom of Christians who oppose abortion and birth control.
“Anti-choice lawmakers are so hostile to birth control that one representative called the new coverage policy ‘unrelated to the basic needs of health care.’ How is birth control not basic health care when 99 percent of women use it at some point in the lives?” wrote Keenan. Keenan was criticizing a bill to block the mandate introduced by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), who decried the order as “a bailout for Planned Parenthood.”
Unfortunately for Keenan’s argument the health benefits of a drug don’t negate the illegitimacy of the HHS mandate resulting from the absence of a conscience-clause protecting the constitutional rights of individuals to freedom of religion and the free practice thereof. Furthermore, not only is Keenan’s argument wrong but its incoherent. Keenan states that 99 percent of women have used birth-control. However, this statistic is misleading as according to the Guttmacher Institute – a research arm of Planned Parenthood – states that 62% of women of roughly child-bearing age currently use some form of birth control method. Additionally, no matter how popular a drug is it cannot qualify as “basic health care” on this premise alone. The vast majority of birth-control use is for regulation of fertility in relation to sexual activity – a voluntary behavior. The morality of contraceptive use can be debated but to assert that birth-control is a medical necessity in more than just a small minority of cases leads to a logical conclusion that female sexual behavior isn’t a free choice of the will but an animalistic instinct that woman are too stupid to control. Obviously this train of thought is blatantly false and reeks of the misogynistic pseudo-science that should only exist in the history books. Now I don’t think that Keenan is a misogynist but when you follow her argument to its logical end then it should become crystal clear that she is being intellectually dishonest – and dishonesty never leads to true justice.